Dr. Anna Jarkiewicz is social pedagogue, researcher and lecturer at the University of Łódź (Poland). Her main fields of interest include social work with the socially excluded, socio-cultural perspective, interpretive assessment, and qualitative research. She is an author of articles on social work with people suffering from mental health issues, empowerment, and pedagogization of social life.
OBJECTIVES: The research conducted by myself focused on understanding the attitudes and beliefs of young people within their need to be part of the decision-making process “in” and “out” of school and impact (on youth) of methods of work based on a participatory-approach. THEORETICAL BASE: A key for this approach is to increase the participation of youth in the decision-making process, the effects of which are observable in real social life. METHODS: The study used a qualitative approach to collecting data. The qualitative approach was based on 2 rounds of focus group interviews with youth involved in the project. This approach was adopted to achieve in-depth responses, giving the chance to respond to each participant. OUTCOMES: The article shows the research findings with youth who were involved in the project based on the participatory approach. Analysis of responses across the whole focus group revealed the situation of youth before the project starts and how the situation itself and youth have changed through the participation in the project. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: Its aim is to improve the potential of social inclusion of youth at risk in schools as youth participation can empower youth, increase their self-esteem, and reduce the risk of dropping-out of school.
participatory approach, empowerment, youth at-risk, school, dropping-out